DefendDefenders establishes and supports national coalitions of HRDs in various countries
DefendDefenders was established in 2005 as the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and registered as a foreign Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Uganda. DefendDefenders exists to strengthen the work of Human Rights Defenders in the sub-region by reducing their vulnerability to the risk of persecution and by enhancing their capacity to effectively defend human rights.
The core mandate of DefendDefenders is to promote the safety, security, and wellbeing of HRDs. To achieve this, DefendDefenders’ work has to date focused on protection and security management, capacity building, technology development, as well as advocacy, research, and communications. DefendDefenders establishes and supports national coalitions of HRDs in various countries through which HRDs can come together and claim their rights at the national level.
DefendDefenders serves as the Secretariat of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD-Net) representing thousands of HRDs and their organisations. DefendDefenders draws its membership from Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia (together with Somaliland), South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The Network also serves as the secretariat for AfricanDefenders (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network.) Further, DefendDefenders holds a consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as well as observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.